After an up and down season already this year, Salisbury University softball was trying to get over .500 for the first time.
The Sea Gulls took on the Lynchburg College Hornets in double-header action Monday, with big implications on the line. Salisbury dropped both games to Lynchburg 7-3 in game one and 6-4 in game two.
Lynchburg came into the series, winners of seven straight games, and seeking to reach its 13th and 14th wins on the year.
In the first inning Lynchburg jumped out ahead quickly putting up three runs in the opening frame. Brittany Coffee drove two runs in with a single to center, while pitcher Taylor Mabry helped her cause with an RBI single.
Salisbury got on the board themselves in the first off a double to center field by second baseman Annie Pietanza. Hornet center fielder Skylar Dickens got turned around and couldn’t make the play, allowing LeAnne Collins to score, while Pietanza trotted easily to second.
Lynchburg picked up another run in the fifth, but a bases loaded spot for the Sea Gulls down by three. Amelia Trotter grounds out to the pitcher and the Sea Gulls strand three.
Two singles by Coffee and Sarah Commons drove in two more runs for Lynchburg putting them up by five. A bases loaded walk issued by Shannon Powell gave the Hornets another insurance run headed into Salisbury’s final three outs.
Collins kicked off the seventh with a lead-off double and would score on a sacrifice fly, but Pietanza and Kristen Yanarella both ground out to seal game one for Lynchburg.
In game two both teams got off to quick starts putting up one run each in the first inning. Lauren Smith smacked a double for the Hornets, plating one, and later scoring on a wild pitch.
Commons opened a bigger lead for the Hornets with a single down the left field line bringing in two more. A fielder’s choice added another run for Lynchburg putting them up 6-1 in the third.
Pietanza would answer for the Sea Gulls with a two-run blast to center field in the bottom part of the third.
In the fifth, Pietzana added to her three RBI total in the game with a base hit single to cut the lead of the Hornets to just two runs.
The Sea Gulls are pushed to their final out in the seventh with a runner on first, two outs and Pietanza, the tying run, at the plate. Pietanza grounds out to third, ending the game in favor of the Hornets.
Lynchburg moves to 14-2 on the year, while Salisbury drops to 8-10 this season. The Sea Gulls lost just six games all of 2016.
Salisbury is having 10 days off and won’t see game action again until March 25 at Mary Washington.
LeAnne Collins hit for the cycle on Sunday and hit .636 during six games in the week for the Sea Gulls. Collins earned CAC Player of the Week and NFCA National Player of the Week.